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9 May 2002 – Kano, Nigeria
Nigeria ordered all the country's ageing British Aerospace 1-11 airliners grounded indefinitely today, after 154 people died in a weekend crash involving one of the aircraft. Aviation Minister Kema Chikwe also pledged a thorough review of all "operations of Nigerian private aviation sector," following an earlier announcement of a 14-member panel to investigate the disaster. The age of the airplane in Saturday's (4 May) crash is not known. The model was first used commercially in the mid-1960s before being phased out of production a decade later, aviation officials said. The twin-engine HAC 1-11 '8 are the workhorses of Nigeria's competitive air industry. Five domestic carriers use a total of 11 of the jets. EAS Airlines owns several. Chikwe also announced new aviation safety regulations rushed into effect that will ban all passenger aircraft older than 22 years from registration to operate in Nigeria. It was not known whether aviation authorities had found the cockpit voice recorder.
10 May 2002 – Dalian, China
A Chinese official has said the country's second air disaster in a month will delay plans to overhaul the airline industry. He was speaking as investigators off Dalian continued to search for the remaining passengers and wreckage from Tuesday (7 May) night's crash. The bodies of only 69 of the 112 passengers and crew on the aircraft have so far been recovered. The official, Yang Yuan Yuan, told the state-controlled China Daily newspaper that the crash would prolong a two-year reform timetable for regrouping China's aviation industry. Mr Yang, Vice-Minister of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said: "We have to invest most of our energy in resolving problems arising from the accident, so the reform plans might be on hold for a bit". But Mr Yang said the direction of reform would not change, and China's nine domestic airlines would still be merged into three new groups based on Air China, China Southern and China Eastern. In Dalian, divers have yet to recover flight CJ 6136's black box flight recorders, though a weak radio signal from the recorders has reportedly been picked up. Recovery crews pulled a 15 metre section of the aircraft from the water on Friday. Chinese officials said it was unclear whether the rest of the aircraft was under water intact, or had been destroyed on impact.
11 May 2002 – An advanced detection instrument is expected to be shipped from the USA to Dalian tomorrow to help search for the black box, or the data recorder, of the aircraft which crashed into the sea. This was announced by Song Jiahui, director of the salvage bureau under the Maritime Safety Administration of the Ministry of Communications, at a new briefing this morning. To date, the black box has been fixed at two possible locations. But it is still difficult to get at due to the complex underwater conditions, Song said.
13 May 2002 – Chinese investigators have roughly located the black box of an aircraft that crashed into the sea killing all 112 people on board and are trying to recover it, an official said today. The search for the black box of a China Northern Airlines aircraft that crashed into Dalian Bay Tuesday (7 May) has been narrowed into an area 30 metres (100 feet) across, a transportation ministry official said. "We're working on recovering the black box," said the official, who declined to give his name. "I can't say when the job will be finished." A team of experts arrived in Dalian city late last night to assist in the recovery of the box, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.
15 May 2002 – Search teams have recovered one of two black box recorders that may shed light on the crash of a China Northern Airlines MD-82 off Dalian last week, in which all 112 people on board were killed. After using new equipment from the USA, the search teaD1S recovered one of the black boxes yesterday afternoon and zeroed in on the location of the other, Xinhua reported. The black box recovered yesterday was the cockpit voice recorder. The other – the flight data recorder – appeared to be badly damaged, divers said. Yesterday, the Beijing Morning Post reported that an emergency meeting of the Civil Aviation Administration of China banned some night flights. The meeting also imposed tighter controls on non-scheduled and charter flights.
19 May 2002 – The second black box from a fatal China Northern air crash in north-eastern Dalian city nearly two weeks ago, which killed 112 people, has been retrieved. The damaged flight data recorder was pulled out of Dalian Bay by divers yesterday afternoon, four days after the cockpit voice recorder was retrieved, China Central Television said. Divers had difficulty locating the flight data recorder because the radio beacon signaller had broken off. Bad weather had also impeded the search, the report said. The data recorder was in "fairly good shape", the report said, but it was not immediately clear if the data was intact. The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 plunged into waters off the coast of Dalian city on 7 May shortly after the pilot reported a fire in the rear cabin. The aircraft's debris and recovered bodies of about 70 passengers also indicate a fire on board.
25 May 2002 – Penghu Island, Taiwan
Taiwan Premier Yu Shyikun confirmed, today, a China Airlines Boeing 747-200 crashed into the sea, after it went missing en route from Taiwan to Hong Kong. Formosa TV said an oil slick and life vests were seen floating in waters off the Taiwan-held island of Penghu, also known as the Pescadores. Mr Yu said Flight CI 611 was carrying 225 passengers and crew. Earlier, TVBS reported the China Airlines (CAL) Boeing 747-200 disappeared at 0713, UTC, from radar screens near the Taiwanese island of Penghu, as it flew from Taipei to Hong Kong. It said the coast guard in Penghu and air force rescue teams had been scrambled to search for the aircraft. Mr Yu confirmed the aircraft had plunged into the sea off the island, about 50 kilometres (31 miles) west of Taiwan. Some life jackets have been found by rescuers floating some 25 nautical miles north-east of Penghu, Mr Yu said. Taiwan's vice transport minister, Chang Chia-juch, said search and rescue teams had found the first body from the aircraft, that of a man. One cable TV station quoted Penghu fishermen as saying they saw many bodies floating in the water. The Boeing 747-200 was carrying 206 passengers, including three infants, and 19 crew, Taiwan's Transportation Ministry said. The flight to Hong Kong usually takes one and a half hours. Most of the passengers were Taiwanese according to Wang Cheng-yu, an official with China Airlines. Also on board were two Singaporeans, 14 people from Hong Kong, Macau or China and one European. China Airlines said that the Boeing 747-200 was built in 1979 and was the last aircraft of its kind in the airline's fleet.
26 May 2002 – The ill-fated China Airlines (CAL) aircraft, which crashed into the sea off Taiwan yesterday, was on its last flight before delivery to a Thai buyer, said airline officials. The 23-year-old jetliner had already been sold to Oriental Thai Airways for US$1.45 million and was scheduled for delivery on 20 June, CAL senior vice-president James Chang said. There was no official word on what might have caused the crash, but CAL has initially ruled out mechanical problems as a cause of the crash. Officials also pointed out that there was no report of mechanical problems before takeoff. Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration in a statement said: "Before disappearance, the plane's condition, the weather and the flight condition were normal. Aviation authorities did not receive any SOS from the pilot."
26 May 2002 – A China Airlines Boeing 747-200 that crashed into the sea yesterday with 225 people on board en route from Taipei to Hong Kong almost certainly disintegrated suddenly, says an aviation expert in Hong Kong. "It is fairly certain the aircraft suddenly broke apart," Peter Lok Kung-nam, former director general of Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Department said today. "… there was absolutely no forewarning, no distress call, not even a secondary radar distress signal, the whole thing must have happened very quickly," Lok said. Searchers scouring the sea have found no survivors so far. Speculation about a mid-air explosion was heightened by television footage of farmers holding up debris from the aircraft in the western Taiwan coastal county of Changhua, about 47 miles from the crash site. Meanwhile, a Boeing airlines spokesman in Hong Kong said a team of Boeing investigators was on the way to Taiwan from the USA, at the request of Taiwan aviation authorities. Lok suggested three possible causes: an explosion, sudden de-pressurisation, which could have knocked the crew out, or the more remote possibility of a collision in the air, perhaps with a military aircraft. A very likely reason was a mid-air fuel-tank explosion, Lok said, like the one that brought down a Trans World Airline Boeing 747 in 1996 near New York. Another possible reason for the China Airlines crash was that the aircraft may have had a sudden de-pressurisation, while on manual control. "You have to get down to survivable altitude in a minute and a half flat. If you don't do that, everybody will just lose consciousness, including the crew of course," Lok said. "For the thing to then crash, the aircraft would have to have been not under autopilot, then the aircraft would lose control and come down," Lok said. A more remote possibility was that something hit the aircraft. "In the past, there have been incidents where civilian pilots report that military aircraft fly too close to them, it has happened in Taiwan skies before," Lok said.
26 May 2002 – The HHC reported today: The China Airlines flight, which crashed into the Taiwan Strait with 225 people on board, disintegrated in mid-air, a Taiwanese aviation official has said. Military radar showed the Boeing 747-200 splitting up into four pieces, the chief crash investigator said. There is no word yet on why the aircraft crashed, but four other China Airlines aircraft have been grounded for checks.
27 May 2002 – Japan Coast Guard report: A China Airlines jet airliner has fallen in the vicinity of latitude 23 58N, longitude 119 39E, geodetic datum unknown, at about 0730, UTC, 25 May. Search and rescue operations by vessels and aircraft in progress until further notice. Caution is advised for vessels.
28 May 2002 – Investigators looking for the flight recorders of the China Airlines aircraft that crashed into the sea off Taiwan on Saturday (25 May) have lost track of signals thought to come from the black boxes. The Chinese president, Jiang Zemin, has expressed his condolences to the victims' families and offered to assist Taiwanese recovery operations. Some 80 bodies and several pieces of wreckage have so far been recovered off the west coast of Taiwan. Aviation experts have put forward several theories about the causes of the crash – an internal explosion, sudden cabin depressurisation, a mid-air collision, or a military accident. Taiwan's military has dismissed speculation that the Boeing 747 may have been hit by a Chinese missile. Some aviation specialists have drawn parallels with the mid-air explosion of a TWA Boeing jet, in 1996, off the New York coast which investigators attributed to an explosion in the aircraft's fuel tank. An investigation report released several years later said a design flaw in the aircraft's central fuel tank was to blame. "We just learned that the signals we picked up yesterday were not coming from the black boxes. Now we don't know where the boxes are," said Aviation Safety Council director Kay Yong. "The sounds had disappeared from the area when we tried to locate them today. This proved the signals were not from the black boxes. The real ones will keep sending signals non-stop for a month," Mr Kay told reporters. Earlier, he had said military radar provided a clear picture of the aircraft splitting up. "We are quite sure now that the Boeing 747-200 suffered in-flight break-up above an altitude of 30,000 feet and broke into four large parts." Relatives of some of the victims have been flown to the scene of the disaster to help identify bodies.
28 May 2002 – Taipei, May 28 US crash experts who took part in an investigation into a mid-air explosion of a Trans World Airlines plane in 1996 have arrived in Taiwan to help find the cause of the China Airlines crash on Saturday (25 May). "They are familiar with deep sea and salvage operations and are experienced in analysing wreckage," Kay Yong, Taiwan's top aviation safety official, told reporters. Yong, managing director of the Taiwan cabinet's Aviation Safety Council, said wreckage from the China Airlines plane might yield more clues than the flight recorders that had still not been located. "I very much hope wreckage of the aircraft can be salvaged, which will allow us to learn more," he said. Earlier, Yong said signals thought to have been from the black boxes turned out to be false, dealing a fresh blow to efforts to discover the cause of the disaster.
29 May 2002 – China Airlines (CAL) is set to pay out more than NT$2 billion (S$105 million) – or about NT$10 million (S$520,000) per person – in compensation to families of passengers on board flight CI 611. The payment is calculated based on the NT$9.9 million China Airlines paid for each passenger in 1998 when its Airbus A300-600 crashed near the island's Chiang Kai-shek International Airport, killing 182. "This time the compensation that we will offer will not go below NT$9.9 million or NT$10 million," said Mr Charles Chen, a senior official at China Airlines. Mr Chen said all passengers on board CI 611 would receive the same amount, regardless of their nationalities. The majority were Taiwanese, nine passengers from China, five from Hong Kong, one Swiss national and one Singaporean on board the aircraft. In the interim, CAL will give out NT$100,000 for each passenger. Taiwan Fire & Marine Insurance Company Ltd is China Airlines' major underwriter and will be responsible for about 25 per cent of the total compensation. Other local underwriters would cover up to NT$460 million while American International Group Inc., a US-based reinsurance firm, will cover an amount beyond that figure. In addition to compensation for passengers, the underwriters also have to spend about NT$860 million to cover the loss of the aircraft.
29 May 2002 – Taiwan search teams have located the two "black box" recorders of a China Airlines Boeing 747 that crashed into the sea last weekend, killing 225 people. Attempts will be made to recover them. On Sunday (26 May), officials said search teams had found signals from flight cockpit voice and flight data recorders, but later the signals were found to be false.
30 May 2002 – Searchers yesterday pinpointed the position of the flight data recorder and the so-called "black boxes" of the China Airlines aircraft that plunged into the sea with 225 people on board, kindling hopes of determining the cause of deadly crash. "Through an underwater search and various verification … we have now ascertained the location of the black boxes at, latitude 23 '58N, longitude 119 40E in waters off Penghu island, said Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Lin-shan. "Near the site, we have also found a huge piece of wreckage, measuring 40m by 10m by 6m," Lin said in a press conference yesterday evening in Penghu. Searchers would begin related underwater retrieval in a timely manner, Lin said, although he declined to say when they could complete the recovery of the critical parts of the aircraft. The progress hinges on weather conditions at sea as well as on the retrieval ability of the searchers involved, said managing director of the Aviation Safety Council (ASC) Kay Yong. Scuba divers went down to begin a search of the large piece of wreckage last night.
18 June 2002 – Search teams recovered the cockpit voice recorder from a China Airlines aircraft that broke up over the Taiwan Strait last month, killing 225 passengers and crew, a Taiwanese crash investigator said today. The device was found this morning in waters deeper than 200 feet near the Penghu island chain, off Taiwan's western coast, Kay Yong, chief investigator with Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council, told reporters. Yong said investigators hope to find the aircraft's other black box, or flight data recorder, today. Strong currents and low underwater visibility have frustrated efforts to recover the black boxes, which usually stop sending out beacon signals after about 30 days.
19 June 2002 – The second black box from a China Airlines Boeing 747-200 that crashed last month, killing all 225 people on board, has been recovered, Taiwan aviation safety authorities said. Tracy Jen, spokeswoman for the Aviation Safety Council, said divers spotted the flight data recorder today and it was brought to the surface. Another black box – the cockpit voice recorder – was recovered yesterday, also from the sea. Council officials said it would take about a week to read the data in the black boxes, assuming they were not damaged. The council hopes the black boxes could help explain why the aircraft disintegrated. But some aviation specialists fear they could have been damaged after soaking in the ocean for 25 days. "Their design was more than 20 years old. It would be wrong to compare them with those of the latest design," a China Airlines official said. By today, 130 bodies of victims of the crash had been recovered off the Penghu islands, west of Taiwan. The US National Transportation Safety Bureau, Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing Company and engine-maker Pratt and Whitney have joined the investigation into the crash. Taiwan security and aviation authorities have ruled out a terrorist attack, an errant missile as well as weather and air traffic control, as factors for the break up.
22 June 2002 – A vessel carrying wreckage from the Taiwanese jetliner, which crashed on 25 May into the sea off Taiwan, left Xiamen yesterday evening for Kaohsiung City in Taiwan. The wreckage was retrieved from the sea by fishermen in Fujian Province and handed over to Taiwanese representatives Wednesday. It comprised 12 items including four aircraft tires, two pieces of the cabin, a suitcase and a bag. The vessel is making the first direct sailing between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. To allow the wreckage to reach Taiwan as soon as possible, Xiamen customs simplified custom formalities and dispensed with customs declaration procedures. Since the air crash, Fujian fishermen have retrieved 12 bodies and 19 pieces of wreckage from the sea. They had handed over the bodies and seven pieces of wreckage to the Taiwanese side at sea.
23 June 2002 – Initial analysis of a black box from a China Airlines jet has yielded no clues in the crash last month that killed 225 people but has shown several unusual sounds, the chief investigator said today. Minutes before the Boeing 747-200 went down, the cockpit voice recorder picked up a noise that sounded like a human heartbeat. But investigators have yet to identify the source of the noise, said Kay Yong, the chief investigator at Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council. The last noise was a sharp "thud" before the power went off, he said. Several Boeing 747 pilots who listened to the tape said the sounds were not normal in the cockpit, Yong said. Each sound lasts a fraction of a second. Investigators could not say if they were related to the crash, "but at this moment, we'd rather be more suspicious," Yong said. A closer and more sophisticated analysis was needed to identify the noises, he said. The second black box, the flight data recorder, was still being analysed and Yong would not comment on its contents. Yong repeated today that the pilots' conversations did not indicate any problems. Search crews are still trying to recover large parts of the aircraft, which split into four pieces before plunging into the Taiwan Strait near the Penghu island chain off Taiwan's western coast. Rescue teams have so far recovered 160 bodies. Eight corpses – including that of co-pilot Rsieh Yahsiung – were found yesterday in wreckage about 200 feet under the sea. The United Daily News quoted prosecutors as saying Rsieh's body was attached to the seat when it was found, indicating there had been no problem requiring him to get up immediately before the crash.
24 June 2002 – China Airlines has offered to pay compensation for each of the 225 people killed when the airline's Boeing 747 crashed into the Taiwan Strait. But after discussing the figure of US$370,000 (£250,000) with relatives, China Airlines spokesman Ran Liang-Chung said more talks are needed with the families. "The compensation figure we proposed did not get the approval of all the victims' relatives," he said. Some relatives have demanded 19.8 million Taiwan dollars (£392,000) for each victim.
25 June 2002 – The initial probe of a China Airlines crash is ruling out an explosion and pilot error as causing the Boeing 747-200 to break up over the Taiwan Strait shortly after takeoff last month, the chief investigator said today. Investigators are considering the possibility that metal fatigue, structural failure or engine problems brought down the Taipei-Hong Kong flight said Kay Yong, the chief investigator at Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council. Yong said the disaster apparently wasn't caused by a fuel tank explosion, bomb, missile or meteor. "From the bodies and wreckage that have been recovered so far, we haven't seen any signs of burning or an explosion," Yong told reporters. After analysing the plane's so-called black boxes, or cockpit voice and flight data recorders, Yong said that the devices showed no evidence of flight operation errors, such as pilot mistakes or communication problems. The chief investigator said the flight data recorder indicated that one engine seemed to be running slightly abnormally. But it was unknown if this was related to the crash, he said. In the flight's final seconds, the plane climbed at three times its previous rate – from 1,200 feet per minute to 3,400 feet per minute, he said. "The ascent should have been more gradual," Yong said, but he added that such a steep ascent should not have caused problems for the plane. The investigator also said that a security review of the passengers showed no evidence that any of them were carrying hazardous materials. Earlier this week, Yong said the plane's cockpit voice recorder picked up several unusual sounds, but investigators have yet to identify them.
8 August 2002 – China Airlines offered additional compensation yesterday to the families of 53 victims whose bodies are still missing after a plane crash, more than two months ago, killed all 225 on board. Each family will be given an extra NT$1 million Taiwan (US$16,700) in compensation because of the mental anguish they have suffered, airline spokesman Roger Han said. The airline has not reached an agreement for overall compensation with family members. Originally the airline had offered to pay NT$12.5 million for each victim killed in the crash, but some family members rejected that figure as insufficient. The cause of the crash is still a mystery. Investigators said the Boeing 747-200 broke apart about 20 minutes after taking off from Taipei for Hong Kong on 25 May. The pilots never indicated any problems before Flight CI 611 plunged into the Taiwan Strait near Taiwan's Penghu island chain. The weather was clear and security officials doubt that a bomb or a missile downed the plane. While 60 per cent of the wreckage has been recovered, investigators have said they will need at least another 20 per cent to have a clear idea of what caused the crash. Efforts to recover bodies and remains of the wreckage have been difficult as much of the plane lies about 60m underwater. Strong currents and rapidly shifting tides have also made the search difficult.
3 July 2002 – Southern Germany
Two airliners have collided in mid-air over southern Germany, German officials said. The Russian-built Tupolev 154 was carrying 80 passengers while the Boeing 757 was carrying two people, police said, but there was no official word on casualties. German news agency DPA reported that burning wreckage caused serious damage as it fell to the ground, setting a school, a farm and several houses ablaze. A spokesman for the interior ministry of Baden-Wuerttemberg, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the aircraft went down near the city of Sigmariegen, near Lake Constance. They collided around midnight near the town of Ueberlingen near Lake Constance, where the borders of Germany, Austria and Switzerland meet. An eyewitness speaking to state German ARD television said he saw two large balls of fire in the sky. Another told the TV station he had seen bodies in streets. Two bodies were found in the city of Constance, reports said. It remained unknown how many people were flying on the Tupolev, which left from Belarus. Eyewitnesses reported two flaming wreckages and a third explosion that lit up the sky.
2 July 2002 – At least 97 people are feared dead after a Russian-made aircraft travelling from Moscow to Barcelona collided with a cargo aircraft bound for Brussels over southern Germany. Officials said the two aircraft collided in mid-air at 2330, local time, yesterday above Lake Constance on the German-Swiss border, spreading debris over a wide area and setting a number of buildings, including a school, on fire. The passenger aircraft, a Russian-made Bashkirian Airlines Tupolev 154, was believed to be carrying 95 people, and the Boeing 757 cargo aircraft two people, regional police said. They were flying at an altitude of 39,370 feet above the town of Ueberlingen on the north-west end of Lake Constance when they struck each other, officials said. A police spokesman said two bodies had been found and debris from the crash was spread over a wide area which lies on the borders of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The cargo aircraft, operated by DHL, had taken off from Bergamo in Italy and was en route to Brussels. The flight had originated in Bahrain, police said.
3 July 2002 – Swiss air traffic controllers said the Russian passenger jet which collided in mid-air with a cargo jet over Germany, killing 71 people, got Swiss orders to decrease altitude a "good minute" before the collision. "The way our colleague worked was cutting it close, but absolutely acceptable," Anton Maag – an official at Skyguide, the Swiss air traffic controllers body monitoring the flights on Monday night (1 July) – told a news conference yesterday. The two jets were both diving to avoid colliding when they flew into each other in what officials said was one of the worst air accidents in German history. Swiss air traffic controllers said earlier it was only on the third instruction that the Russian pilot had begun to reduce altitude to avoid collision. At the news conference, Maag said the three instructions were given during what he described as "a good minute". Maag said the air traffic controller in charge at the time was working alone as his partner took a break because of the light air traffic. Five aircraft were in the sector they were monitoring at the time, which included the two crashed aircraft.
3 July 2002 – Air traffic controllers came under scrutiny yesterday for failing to avert a mid-air collision over southern Germany that left 71 dead. Everyone on board the two aircraft – a Russian charter aircraft packed with student holidaymakers headed to Spain and a DHL Boeing 757 cargo aircraft – was killed when they smashed into each other shortly before midnight on Monday. Quoting experts who examined the black box recovered from the Russian aircraft, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported from Moscow that Swiss air traffic controllers told the pilot to descend only 50 seconds before the collision, and that it did so within 25 seconds. The crash apparently occurred as the Bashkirian Airlines aircraft, bound for Barcelona, and the mail service courier aircraft took last-minute evasive action. "In my opinion, this was the fault of the air controllers," the director of Bashkirian Airlines, Nikolai Odegov, told reporters in Moscow's Domodedovo airport. But the Swiss air traffic control service, Skyguide, said the pilot of the Tupolev 154 responded late to their repeated calls to descend to a flight path 200 metres lower. Skyguide said it believed its controller had acted correctly and followed normal avoidance procedures. German Transport Minister Kurt Bodewig said the job of tracking the Tu-154 carrying 57 passengers and 12 crew had been handed over to Zurich flight controllers five minutes before the accident. Of the 69 dead on the Tupolev Tu-154 passenger aircraft, 52 were children and teenagers from the Urals republic of Bashkortostan who were sent on the all-expenses-paid vacation by a local organisation to reward them for their good grades, Russian officials said. The families of the victims were due to arrive later in the day at the site of the air disaster where two more bodies were recovered overnight, bringing the total to 28, police said. In the southern German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, wreckage and bodies were spread across a 30-kilometre wide, thinly populated area of mostly farmland. Hundreds of rescue workers, investigators and firefighters have been at work at the scene, which reeked of aviation fuel, while police surveyed an area north of the town of Ueberlingen with helicopters and dogs. German police said black box flight recorders from both aircrafts had been recovered from the debris, which was strewn over a wide area near Lake Contance on the borders between Germany, Switzerland and Austria. A total of 15 Russian experts arrived to help their German, Swiss and American counterparts carry out the probe and more from Switzerland and the USA were expected to arrive throughout the day. The cargo aircraft was operated by Bahrain Aviation and left from Bergamo in northern Italy for Brussels shortly after 2330 hours on Monday, police said. One pilot was British, the other Canadian. Ueberlingen's regional police chief said some of the dead were found strapped into their seats. No casualties were reported on the ground.
7 July 2002 – German officials said they were able to recover most of the wreckage from two jetliners that collided over southern Germany and that fragments, investigators hope, will provide clues to how the crash that killed 71 happened, despite wet weather. "The main work today was to remove the wreckage from the crash site," said Joerg Schoeneberg, the lead investigator for the German aviation agency. "We are happy to say that this is practically done." Recent attention has focused on Swiss air controllers and whether they gave the pilot of the Russian Tu-154 passenger airliner sufficient warning to drop its altitude before it fatally crossed the path of a Boeing 757 cargo jet. Alain Rossier, head of the Swiss air traffic controllers, Skyguide, said today on Swiss radio that mistakes in communication had been made in the days after the accident. But, he said, it had never been the intention to make things look better than they were. Everything that happened would be studied second by second, Rossier said. He said three questions had to be answered: the reactions of the controllers, of the pilots and of the systems in the planes. "Only then will we be able to say whether it is only a disaster for us or whether it is also a disaster for others," Rossier said. Swiss officials have opened a criminal investigation into possible negligent homicide. Investigators hope the pieces being collected in a hangar at the Friedrichshafen airport can shed some more light. Muddy ground today slowed efforts to truck away several large pieces of wreckage scattered outside the town of Ueberlingen on the German side of Lake Constance, shared by Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Investigators also hope to recover the final two bodies of the victims that still remain missing and feared trapped in the tangled wreckage. Experts have identified 21 of the victims so far. Meanwhile, the operators of Zurich Airport said Skyguide said it had reduced its aircraft control capacity by 20 percent from today because of the stress the accident had caused to its staff. This is likely to lead to some delays.
13 July 2002 – Switzerland conceded today that its air traffic controllers were at least partly to blame for the collision of a Russian charter jet and a cargo plane over Germany, and admitted lapses in handling the aftermath of the crash, which killed 71 people. Switzerland is ready to offer compensation to the victims and will cooperate fully in the German-led investigation into the 1 July crash, Swiss transport Minster Moritz Leuenberger said. Immediately after the crash, the Swiss said they had told the Russian pilot several times to descend and received only one reply.
German investigators, who listened to the black box recordings, said the Russian pilot was receiving contradictory instructions from the on-board warning system, which told him to climb, and from the Swiss control tower, which said to descend. The pilot appeared to have heeded the control tower's instructions to descend when it was repeated about 15 seconds after receiving the contradictory instructions. However, had the pilot obeyed the cockpit warning instruction to climb, which was issued simultaneously with instructions to the DHL plane to descend, experts believe the crash would have been averted. German investigators said yesterday that experts examining the wreckage found no evidence of technical problems in the planes so far, but will not close that part of the investigation for another two weeks. A German lab today finished identifying all the bodies with the use of DNA matching.
15 August 2002 – According to a preliminary estimation, the damages the Bashkirian Airline's suffered as a result of the July 2 crash of the Tu-154 airliner, make approximately $50 million, the company's managing director Nikolai Odegov was quoted as saying at a press conference in the Ufa city. According to him, drawing conclusions is within the special commission's scope of responsibility, but the company is positively sure that "it was the Swiss ground control, which made the two aircraft collide." He believes that this tragedy inflicted on the Bashkirian Airlines "the heaviest damage possible – both material and moral, and commercial." The managing director said that "if negotiations fail to settle all problems, the airlines will ask for damages in the court. I believe that relatives of the killed children and crewmen will do the same."
12 September 2002 – Lawyers for the Russian airline that lost an aircraft in a mid-air collision on July 2 say they are claiming at least US$15 million compensation from Swiss air traffic controllers and the operators of the other plane. Berlin lawyers Heiko van Schyndel and Elmar Giemulla today told Reuters their firm had sent financial demands to Swiss air traffic control body Skyguide and cargo firm DHL, relating to the collision over Lake Constance, which claimed the lives of 71 people, among them many Russian children. "If an out-of-court settlement isn't possible, we will file a claim," said van Schyndel. The law firm is acting on behalf of Bashkirian Airlines and does not represent the victims. Germany's air accident authority has been investigating the cause of the mid-air collision between the Bashkirian Airlines Tupolev 154 and a DHL Boeing 757 cargo jet over the Swiss-German border. "We're demanding at least US$15 million," said van Schyndel. He said the estimated compensation sum was made up of the value of the Tupolev, the loss of revenue resulting from the crash and the cost of training new crew members. Swiss air traffic controllers were monitoring the aircrafts at the time of the crash. Skyguide has said its collision alert system was out of action and one of the two controllers monitoring that sector was taking a break at the time of the crash. German controllers have said they tried to warn their Swiss colleagues of the collision course but could not get through, apparently because the Swiss telephones were not working. And the German investigators say cockpit recordings show the lone Swiss controller told the Tupolev pilot to descend when his on-board collision avoidance computer – automatically linked to a similar one in the DHL Boeing – was telling him to climb.
4 July 2002 – Bangui, Central African Republic
A Sudan Airways aircraft crashed into a heavily-populated suburb of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, today, killing around 20 people. Aviation sources said the aircraft was heading for Brazzaville, the capital of neighbouring Congo. They said the aircraft developed technical problems and crashed as it attempted an emergency landing at Bangui Airport. "We saw around 20 bodies in the wreckage of the aircraft. There was one survivor who was wounded and was carried away," a witness said. It was not clear how many people were on board the aircraft. Witnesses said the aircraft crashed near a busy market.
7 July 2002 – Rescue workers sifting through the mud today recovered the last body from a Boeing 707 that crashed in this central African country, killing 23 people. The cargo aircraft crashed yesterday in a fishing community on the outskirts of the capital, Bangui. Only the pilot and one passenger survived and were hospitalised with serious injuries. The jet was carrying a load of onions and garlic along with passengers from N'Djamena in Chad to Brazzaville in Republic of Congo when it tried to land here because of technical problems, said officials at the regional air authority, Asecna. The aircraft crashed four kilometres short of the runway at the Bangui airport in clear weather and exploded on impact, witnesses and air officials said. Martin Wesio, an Asecna official in Bangui, said there were 25 people on board – 17 Chadian passengers and eight crew members. Yesterday, a spokesman for the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority, Bnatius Bundura, said two pilots and two engineers from Uganda were among the dead. He said the aircraft was registered in Rwanda. By the time rescue operations were suspended yesterday evening, 22 bodies had been removed from the crash site. There were no immediate reports of casualties on the ground. Meanwhile, Chad authorities sent a transport aircraft to repatriate the bodies of the 16 nationals who died in the crash. Aviation operators in eastern Congo said they were negotiating with authorities in Bangui for permission to send another aircraft to collect the bodies of crew members from the rebel-held city of Goma. The destroyed aircraft, which was operating under the licence of Prestige Airlines in Republic of Congo, was owned by New Gomair, a small airline run by a group of Goma businessmen in neighbouring Congo, according to officials in the two countries. "Prestige Airlines bears no responsibility regarding the crash in Bangui," said Antoine Rongo Rongo, the company's director general. Prestige is just beginning operations in the Republic of Congo and was planning to start domestic flights next week.
11 July 2002 – Dixson Island, Russia
A helicopter, with at least 21 people on board, has gone missing in the far north of Russia. The Mi-6 helicopter took off from the Polar city of Norilsk yesterday at 1000 GMT, but had failed to arrive at its destination three hours later. It is thought to have gone missing near the island of Dixson, in the Taymyr region. There has been no indication so far from the Emergencies Ministry about what might have caused the helicopter to disappear. A helicopter was initially sent out to search for the missing aircraft, but its mission was seriously hampered by severe weather. Further efforts to locate it are being mounted. There were eight crew members and about 13 passengers on board the missing helicopter. The passengers were mainly geologists, Russia's NTV television reported.
12 July 2002 – A search team of the Russian Emergencies Ministry has still not found a cargo and passenger Mi-6 helicopter, which went missing en route from Dixon Island to Eclipse on the Taimyr Peninsula on July 10. After refueling at a local border outpost, the search helicopter will inspect the route again, the Emergencies Ministry press service has told Interfax. A An-74 patrol aircraft of the Emergencies Ministry will fly from Dixon Island to Eclipse at 0600, Moscow time, today.
17 July 2002 – A Russian helicopter that went missing with 21 aboard while on a scientific expedition inside the Arctic Circle probably went down in the ocean's icy waters due to poor visibility, rescuers said yesterday. Russian accident investigators put forward the latest theory on the basis of witness statements from border guards at the Eclipse research station where the chopper was due to have landed. The Russian Mi-6 helicopter took off from the Arctic city of Norilsk in the coastal region of the Siberian far north early Wednesday (10 July) with eight crew and 13 passengers. It stopped over at Dixson Island off the northern coast but failed to arrive at its destination at Cape Eclipse. Border guards reported hearing a helicopter passing east of the station during a blizzard, which was severely limiting visibility, the Ria-Novosti news agency reported. The aircraft then probably ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea, according to experts from the emergency ministry. After combing the suspected crash site for several days without sign of the downed helicopter, emergency ministry officials are to send out two helicopters as soon as weather conditions improve to continue their search, officials said.
18 July 2002 – Russia's Emergencies Ministry said today it had found bodies in the burnt-out wreckage of a helicopter that disappeared a week ago while taking 21 people, mainly scientists, to a remote Arctic region. "Rescuers found bodies and body parts inside the helicopter," Marina Ryklina, head of the Emergencies Ministry press service, said today. "We cannot say exactly how many people are dead until the public prosecutors finish their investigation." Russian news agencies quoted preliminary reports as saying none of those on board, who included 13 members of a geological survey team, had survived. Air reconnaissance teams said they had found traces of the helicopter some 110 km from the outpost of Eclipse in Russia's desolate Arctic, Ryklina said. Interfax news agency said the wreckage was strewn over a 50-metre radius, the helicopter's tail being the single largest piece of the fuselage found intact. Crash investigators said it was too early to say what had caused the disaster, but that the corpses would be flown out tomorrow, reports said.
17 July 2002 – Gulf Air A40.EK
Human error on the flight deck, combined with flaws in Gulf Air's organisational, management and training systems, were to blame for the crash of the airline's flight 072 in August, 2000, which killed all 143 people on board, Bahrain's Civil Aviation Authority said yesterday. "No, single factor was responsible for the accident to GF-072," the CAA said in a 91-page accident investigation report. "The accident was the result of a fatal combination of many contributory factors, both at the individual and systematic levels," it said. Individual factors included "non-adherence to standard operating procedures by the captain" and the "first officer not drawing the attention of the captain to the deviation of the aircraft from the standard flight parameters and profile," the report said. The pilot and first officer suffered a "spatial and disorientation and information overload," and offered a "non-effective response to the ground proximity warnings," which sounded every second for nine seconds before impact. This disorientation could have caused the captain to perceive falsely that the aircraft was "pitching up" when it was in fact pitching down. The report also blamed systematic factors like "a lack of crew resources, management training programme, inadequacy in some of the airline's Airbus A320 flight crew training programmes and problems in the airline's flight data analysis system and flight safety department which were not functioning satisfactorily." It highlighted "organisational and management issues within the airline and safety oversight by the regulator," as additional factors contributing to the crash. "Such factors may often remain undetected within the system for a considerable period of time," it said. "When these latent conditions combine with local events and environmental circumstances, such as individual factors contributed by front-line operators or environmental factors, a system failure, such as an accident, may occur." Flight 072 from Cairo crashed into shallow waters off Bahrain on 23 August, 2000, killing all 135 passengers and eight crew members on impact. The Airbus A320-212 (A40-EK) went into a very tight turn at maximum thrust before plunging into the sea at a speed of 280 knots.
17 July 2002 – Borneo
Ten people are missing after their aircraft disappeared over jungle on the island of Borneo. Indonesian authorities believe the plane crashed. They have sent a search team to East Kalimantan province to look for the plane, its eight passengers and two crew. The Borneo Air Transport plane is believed to have gone down somewhere not far from the border with the Malaysian state of Sabah, according to an air traffic control official in East Kalimantan. He said there had been no news about the Britten-Norman plane since it lost contact with air traffic control this morning, about 15 minutes before it was due to land at Long Bawan airstrip in the west of the province. A police officer in the East Kalimantan city of Balikpapan said a government search would start tomorrow. "Two planes carrying a search and rescue team are coming from Jakarta today," he said. "The company who hired the cargo plane also conducted a search, but could not find anything." The air search was expected to focus on thick jungle south of the Kiung mountain near the border with Sabah. Reports say the weather was fine at the time the aircraft went missing.
17 July 2002 – US missionaries flying in a Cessna today spotted a downed aircraft carrying ten people and reported that it was emitting radio signals, a possible sign of survivors, an airport official said. The largely intact aircraft was seen on the side of a mountain in the thick Borneo jungles of East Kalimantan province in central Indonesia, said Zainuddin, the chief of the airport from where the aircraft took off. Rescuers had not reached the crash site by nightfall today, but the Air Force planned to dispatch personnel to the area at first light tomorrow, Zainuddin said. Two US missionaries, from a group called Mission Aviation Foxtrot, flew over the area repeatedly today before spotting the aircraft, Zainuddin said. The Britten-Norman BN-2B, carrying two crewmen and eight passengers, went missing yesterday morning. It was on a routine one-hour flight from Tarakan, a town in East Kalimantan, to Krayan. There were no foreigners aboard. The British-made aircraft, also known as the Islander, is a twin-prop light transport with a fixed undercarriage. It is considered highly reliable and has been exported widely to developing nations, such as Indonesia. Depending on the seating configuration, it can either carry eight passengers or a one-ton payload. Air traffic control lost contact with the pilot about 15 minutes before the aircraft was due to land at Yuvai Semaring airstrip in the west of the province, Zainuddin said. They had earlier given him weather information and had cleared the flight for landing.
18 July 2002 –
All ten passengers and crew aboard a light aircraft that crashed in a remote Indonesian jungle were found dead today, an official said. "We received news that all ten had died," said Zainuddin, the head of Tarakan airport from where the aircraft took off. "We are now airlifting the bodies out." All those aboard were Indonesian. Rescuers arrived at the crash site today after climbing a mile-high mountain surrounded by thick jungle on the island of Borneo, said Zainuddin. Airport officials had hoped that some passengers might still be alive because the downed airplane was still emitting emergency radio signals today.
24 July 2002 – One of the passengers of an aircraft which crashed on the island of Borneo last week is reported to have been found alive after walking through jungle for days. Authorities had earlier said that all ten passengers had died in the 16 July crash in Indonesia's East Kalimantan province. But a bruised and shocked man who stumbled into a remote village yesterday is said to have been on the aircraft. Authorities say he is still too traumatised to remember much about the crash. Starving Bangau Juni followed the path of a small river until he reached a village where he was discovered, partially clothed, exhausted and starving, said an Indonesian airport official. "He was found by villagers some five kilometres (three miles) from the site of the crash," said Abdul Harris, acting chief of Tarakan airport where the aircraft took off. Chief of police in Tarakan, Herman Ismail, said he was later taken to the nearby town of Long Bawang, where his family lives. "He is still confused and can't give us much information yet about the crash." Mr Ismail said there may have been confusion over the number of people who died in the crash because some of the bodies were dismembered. The Brit ten Norman aircraft was found on Thursday (18 July) on the side of a mountain in East Kalimantan province in central Indonesia, not far from the border with the Malaysian state of Sabah. It was on a routine one-hour flight from Tarakan to Krayan. Reports say the weather was fine at the time the aircraft went missing. The aircraft had been operating in Indonesia for around 26 years, according to Indonesia's Antara news agency.
18 July 2002 – Motueka, New Zealand
An aircraft crash at Motueka Aerodrome last year, in which six people were injured, was caused by the pilot mistakenly turning the fuel off before take-off, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission has found. The November 29 crash happened seconds after the Skydive Nelson Cessna 185 (Skywagon 11) took off with the pilot and five parachutists on board. The aircraft lost power and crashed into a kiwi fruit orchard. Pilot Karl Cameron suffered serious chest and facial injuries. Four of the parachutists suffered serious injuries, including broken limbs and head injuries. The commission's report, released today, said the power loss was caused by the pilot inadvertently selecting the "off" position for the fuel selector handle before the flight. The pilot had over 1,500 hours' flying experience, with 169 hours in that type of Cessna. He said today he did not dispute the report's findings, but he had fallen into a "trap" because he was unaware of modifications to the fuel handle. He did not know he had turned the fuel off by turning the unlabelled handle to the rear, he said. He had prepared his own report on the accident and had forwarded it to the Civil Aviation Authority. The aircraft, imported from Vietnam in 1995, failed Civil Aviation certification the following year. After a rectification programme, it was considered airworthy, but engineers noted that the fuel selector handle did not have a cover which normally prevented it being turned to the rear. The handle could be turned left or right to select individual wing tanks, or forward for both tanks. If it was turned to the rear, the fuel flow was shut off. When the handle was in the "off" position, the aircraft was effectively taking off with only 3.28 litres of fuel. "The pilot was convinced that by rotating the selector handle to point rearwards, fuel would flow from both tanks," the accident report said. "This was an incorrect assumption, but one the pilot may have formed over the time he had flown with the operator." The absence of the selector cover and labelling around the handle removed two defences against a pilot inadvertently turning the handle to the "off" position, it said. Mr Cameron's actions after the aircraft lost power were appropriate but did not include changing the fuel selection, the report said. It also said the passengers' injuries might have been reduced if they had been wearing safety restraints. Mr Cameron was strapped in. It recommended a joint study by Civil Aviation and the Parachuting Federation into the "utility" of parachutists wearing safety restraints for take-offs and landings. It said the study should include any recommendation on rule changes and be completed by March 2003. The report also recommended that pilots be reminded of the procedures for engine failure after take-off, and the benefits, if time permitted, of changing the fuel tank selection if a sudden, total and unexplained power loss occurred. It noted that in the Motueka case, there was probably not enough time to do so. Civil Aviation's director has accepted both recommendations.
21 July 2002 – Ingushetia Region, Russia
A helicopter has crashed in southern Russia, killing 12 people on board. The helicopter was carrying a group of border guards when it came down in the southern region of Ingushetia. It is not yet clear what caused the crash.
28 July 2002 – Airshow, Ukraine
Emergency workers struggled to count and identify the dozens of victims from the crash of a Ukrainian air force jet which ploughed into a crowd of terrified onlookers and exploded in flames during an air show in western Ukraine. The low-flying Russian-made Sukhoi Su-27 jet appeared to lose control before hitting the ground and exploding during the show in Sknyliv, near Lviv, yesterday afternoon. A regional official of the emergencies ministry, Ivan Gayduk, said on Saturday that 78 people were killed, including seven children, and 115 injured, 70 of them seriously. Many were suffering from burns, fractures and head injuries. However, ministry officials in the Ukrainian capital Kiev later said they could not give an accurate death toll, as many victims had been torn apart in the accident, making the body count difficult. The unarmed twin-seater, twin-engined plane was performing an aerobatic manoeuvre involving a low pass, when its wing appeared to suddenly clip a tree and slice through a grounded plane, before scraping the ground, witnesses said.
28 July 2002 – Moscow, Russia
Several people have been killed after an aircraft crashed on take-off at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. Four crew and 12 air stewards were on board the Ilyushin 11-86 cargo aircraft, the Emergencies Ministry has said. "We don't know if there are any survivors, but the ministry rescue teams have gone to the scene and are most likely already working there," ministry spokeswoman Marina Ryklina said. There were no passengers on the flight and no-one on the ground appears to have been hurt. The aircraft burst into flames and a large plume of smoke has been reported rising from the site of the crash. It is believed to belong to Pulkovo airlines, which flies between Moscow and St Petersburg.
28 July 2002 – A Russian 11-86 passenger jet returning to its home airport with only crew on board dove and crashed into a forest just after taking off this afternoon from Moscow, killing 14 people and spreading charred debris beyond the runway. Two flight attendants sitting in the back of the aircraft survived, one with only slight injuries. The accident happened so fast that the pilots of the Pulkovo airlines jet didn't have time to give flight controllers any indication there was a problem after lifting off from Sheremetyevo-1 airport, aviation officials said. The aircraft hit the ground with such force that its front section was unrecognizable amid the blackened wreckage except for a wall of fuselage with the outlines of windows; work to find and identify bodies was going slowly because of the scale of the destruction. Smoke continued to rise from the wreckage, laying in a ditch among birch trees and bushes, long after the flames were out. Other jets soared into the sky directly overhead as firefighters worked hoses to fully extinguish the smouldering remains. About 100 army conscripts dressed in camouflage arrived to help comb the crash site for bits of debris in the investigation, and a group of officials from the Russian Security Service, wearing black vests emblazoned with the agency's Russian initials FSB, were also at the scene. Sheremetyevo-l airport, which serves mainly flights within the former Soviet Union, and is located adjacent to Moscow's main international airport Sheremetyevo-2, was closed for about an hour after the crash but was running normally by late this afternoon. Of the two flight attendants who survived and were being treated in Moscow hospitals, one was in shock and the other seriously injured, said Sheremetyevo airport general director Sergei Belayev. The aircraft had carried passengers to Moscow from the Black Sea resort of Sochi and was heading back empty to its home airport in St Petersburg, Belayev said. The flight between the capital and the former imperial capital usually takes about an hour, and airport official Vadim Sanzharov told Russian television that the 11-86's fuel tanks weren't full. Anatoly Ivanov, a pilot and head of flight services for Pulkovo airlines, which operates regular passenger and cargo service between Moscow and St Petersburg, said he was friends with the crashed jet's pilot and described him as a first-rate airman with more than 20 years' experience flying. Ivanov said it was "too early to say" what caused the crash, but added the aircraft had been maintained to Russian and international standards. Ivanov said a determination of the cause for the crash would rely on the examination of the aircraft's flight recorders, all of which were recovered by late this afternoon. The aircraft crashed near the Dmitrov highway north-west of the capital.
8 August 2002 – Caguas, Puerto Rico
An Army cargo aircraft crashed on a Puerto Rican mountaintop with at least ten people on board, and the island's top emergency official said all were feared dead. The aircraft struck a heavily wooded mountaintop near the town of Caguas, 20 miles south of San Juan, while flying in rain and fog last night. The aircraft's fuselage was ripped apart by the impact, and parts of the debris caught fire, said Rafael Guzman, executive director of the State Emergency Management Agency. The police air unit and the US Navy said the aircraft appeared to be a Lockheed C-130 (Hercules) transport, and Navy Lt Corey Barker said it belonged to the Army Special Forces Command. "With the destruction of the fuselage that we were able to observe, we do not believe we will be able to find any survivors," Guzman said. He said crews recovered one body last night and that the search for others would continue today. Sandra Virella, a spokeswoman for the emergency management agency, said at least ten people were believed to have been on the aircraft. Guzman said the nearest homes were a two-hour hike from the crash site, and that most of the aircraft's fuselage had come to rest in a depression at the top of the mountain.
23 August 2002 – Crash near Pokhara, Nepal
A total of 18 people, including 15 foreign tourists, were killed when a light plane crashed in bad weather in western Nepal close to the popular trekking destination of Pokhara. The dead included 13 Germans, a Briton, a US national and three Nepalese crew members, police and airline sources said 22 August. The Canadian-built Twin Otter, belonging to a private airliner Shangrila Air, went missing a few minutes before it was due to land at Pokhara airport, 225 kilometres (360 miles) west of Kathmandu, a civil aviation offcial said. The aircraft has crashed at a place called Krishti Nachene Chaur's Shanti Stupa, about five kilometres (three miles) from Pokhara. There are no survivors. Rescue helicopters had been sent to the scene. The bodies were being brought from the site to Pokhara by an army helicopter, local officials said. A statement from the civil aviation office said the last contact between the aircraft and air traffic control was at 1000, local time (04.15 UTC). The aircraft was flying from Jomson to Pokhara. Bad weather was thought to be responsible for the accident and Pokhara airport has been closed to all other flights.
27 August 2002 – ValuJet, Sabretech
A US judge today sentenced defunct ValuJet maintenance contractor SabreTech, Inc., to a $500,000 fine in connection with the 1996 crash of a ValuJet McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 (N904VJ) into Florida's Everglades, which killed 110 people. SabreTech was convicted of willfully failing to train its employees properly in the handling of hazardous materials. The ValuJet crash was blamed on a fire in the cargo hold sparked by improperly packaged oxygen canisters handled by SabreTech workers. SabreTech faced both federal and state charges in the wake of the ValuJet crash. The aircraft plunged into the Everglades west of Miami on May 11, 1996, shortly after take-off from Miami International Airport. In a 1997 report, the National Transportation Safety Board said SabreTech mishandled the canisters and faulted ValuJet for failing to adequately supervise the maintenance company. Miami-Dade County prosecutors filed charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter against SabreTech, saying the crash was the result of a crime. However, those charges were ultimately dropped as part of an agreement under which SabreTech pleaded no contest to a count of improperly causing the transportation of hazardous waste. SabreTech's parent, Sabreliner Corp of St Louis, was required to pay $500,000 to groups that promote air safety. In federal court, SabreTech was found guilty, in December 1999, of nine hazardous materials violations and was sentenced to pay more than $11 million in fines and restitution. However, an appeals court overturned eight of the nine convictions, letting stand only the one conviction of failing to adequately train employees. US Judge James Lawrence King today imposed the maximum penalty for that conviction, a $500,000 fine, but SabreTech attorney Martin Raskin said the company had collapsed under the weight of litigation and loss of business after the ValuJet crash. "It's going to be difficult for anyone to find any assets to pay that fine," Raskin said outside the courthouse.
28 August 2002 – Pokhara, Nepal
A small aircraft, with 18 people on board, most of them foreigners, crashed in bad weather in west Nepal today, authorities said. The fate of the 15 passengers and three crew members, was not immediately known. The Canadian-built Twin Otter aircraft owned by Shangrila Air, a private airline, was flying near the tourist town of Pokhara from Jomsom, a tourist resort. "The plane was carrying up to 15 people, mostly foreigners, and three crew," an airport official said. Earlier, Tourism Minister Bal Bahadur K.C. said the crash site had been located and rescue teams had rushed there. "The plane was approaching Pokhara, about 125 miles west of the capital Kathmandu, when air traffic controllers lost contact at about 1,000 hrs," an anonymous official was quoted as saying.
30 August 2002 – Crash near Ayan, Russia
An Antonov An-28 transport aircraft with 17 people on board has disappeared, as it was about to land in the Russian far east near the border with China. Local officials say a search operation for the aircraft was suspended at nightfall due to heavy fog. The Russian-built aircraft had been travelling from the far eastern city of Khabarovsk, carrying 14 passengers and three crew. The officials say it last made contact with air traffic controllers about ten minutes before it was scheduled to land in the village of Ayan, around 850 kilometres north of Khabarovsk.
30 August 2002 – Bodies of all 16 passengers of the An-28, which crashed yesterday, have been found at the site of its crash 3 kms away from the Ayan settlement in the Khabarovsk region. Three bodies have severe burns and 13 can be identified, the press service of the Russian Emergencies Ministry said. An investigative group of the prosecutor's office is working on the site of the incident.
2 September 2002 – Investigators have blamed human error for the crash of a small plane in Russia's Far East, in which 16 people including a Japanese citizen were killed, a regional governor said today. "There was an error in the plane's course, an error by the flight crew," said Viktor Ishayev, the governor of the Khabarovsk region, who is heading the investigation. He said that investigators were also looking into the actions of air traffic controllers.
31 August 2002 – Crash, Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil
More than 20 people are reported to have been killed when a small commercial aircraft crashed in north-west Brazil. The aircraft came down during a heavy rainstorm near the airport of Rio Branco in the Amazon state of Acre, witnesses said. Heavy rain is common in the afternoon and evenings in the Amazon and flights are often cancelled or re-routed as a result. Police said that between 28 and 30 people were on board the aircraft. There are reports of survivors from the crash which is said to have happened in thick jungle several kilometres from the runway. Local fire-fighters are at the crash scene but inhospitable terrain and a lack of roads are making rescue attempts difficult. The aircraft involved, a small, Brazilian-made aircraft called a Brasilia plane, was operated by Rico Airlines, a company that has been flying between cities in the Amazon for more than 50 years. It had taken off from the city of Cruzeiro do Sul near Brazil's border with Peru. There has been no official comment from the authorities yet.
1 September 2002 – Brazilian aviation authorities combed through the wreckage yesterday of a twin-engine turboprop plane that crashed a day earlier in northwest Brazil and killed 23 people, including a local congressman. The team, which arrived in the city of Rio Branco around midday, found the plane's flight recorder amid the badly ripped-up plane. Its fuselage littered a green field of palm trees. The Rico Linhas Aereas air taxi crashed about 1900 hrs, on Friday (30 August) as it prepared to land in heavy rain and wind in the airport of Rio Branco, capital of north-west Acre state. It crashed almost a mile from the airport with 28 passengers and three crew members on board. The aircraft, manufactured by Brazil's Embraer, left the city of Cruzeiro do Sul, near the border with Peru, on Friday afternoon and made a stop in the city of Tarauaca. Officials said bad weather may have been the cause of the crash, but there would be an official probe. "Heavy rain could have forced the plane to the ground, because it was about to land. But we will only know what the reason was after investigations," Metin Yurtsever, a Rico Linhas Aereas official, told Folha Online news service. Earlier, police said as many as 24 people may have died, but the city morgue and hospital confirmed 23 were killed in the crash, including Congressman Ildefonso Cordeiro of the centrist Brazilian Social Democratic Party. Eight people survived. Three were in intensive care at a local hospital. A fire squad chief said some of the bodies had been hurled more than 220 yards from the crash site.
6 November 2002 – Crash at Niederanven, Luxembourg
A Fokker turboprop plane has crashed in thick fog near Luxembourg airport as it was coming in to land. The Luxair plane – Flight LG9642/LH2420 – was reported to be carrying at least 19 crew and passengers en route from Berlin. The number of casualties is not yet known and the airport has been closed, a Luxair spokesman said. A Luxembourg Government spokesman, Guy Schuller, said at least ten people were dead. The plane crashed after 1000 hrs (0900, UTC ) in Niederanven, a few kilometres outside the capital's Findel airport, the Associated Press reported, quoting local media. Rescuers have rushed to the crash site – an area of gently rolling wooded hills and farmland.
6 November 2002 – A Luxair twin-engine turboprop Fokker 50, crashed in thick fog close to Luxembourg airport today, killing at least 17 of the 22 people on board, a police spokesman said. The aircraft, carrying 19 passengers and three crew, was on a scheduled flight from Berlin's Tempelhof airport when it crashed three miles short of Findel airport. All five survivors were in a critical condition in hospitals in Luxembourg, police spokesman Vic Reuter said. One of the survivors was the pilot, freed from the wreckage after three hours. His condition was not known. Emergency services rushed to the scene of the crash, in a field about six miles outside the capital of the Grand Duchy. The aircraft left Berlin's Tempelhof airport at 0743, GMT, three minutes behind schedule on a bright, sunny morning, a Berlin airport spokeswoman said. The accident occurred as the aircraft was making its final approach at around 0915, GMT, some five minutes before its scheduled landing. Findel airport was immediately closed and incoming aircrafts were diverted to other airports in Germany and Belgium. Luxair said that the aircraft had been in service since 1991. The authorities in Luxembourg did not make any immediate comment on the cause of the accident but said no distress call had been received from flight LG9642/LH2420 before the crash. A spokesman for the Belgian defence ministry said Brussels had sent three helicopters to the site of the accident and had put a military hospital on alert after Luxembourg requested help. Many of the dead were thought to be Germans travelling from Berlin.
6 November 2002 – The pilot and one passenger survived after a Luxair plane, with 22 people on board, crashed into a field in thick fog near Luxembourg's international airport and burst into flames. The twin-engine Fokker 50, carrying 19 passengers and three crew on a flight to the Grand Duchy from Berlin, crashed about three miles from the airport while coming in to land. The passenger who survived the crash and the fire, which engulfed the wreckage, suffered no more than a fractured hand, government spokesman Guy Schuller said. The pilot, a Luxemburger, was badly injured after being trapped in his cockpit, but Schuller said his life was not in danger. Investigators were trying to pin down the cause of the crash, the first in Luxair's 40-year history, Luxair chief executive Christian Heinzmann told a news conference. The aircraft, on a scheduled flight from Berlin-Tempelhof Airport, crashed at around 1015 hrs (0915, UTC). Of those on board, 15 were German, two French and five were from Luxembourg. "Everything was normal," Luxembourg Transport Minister Henry Grethen said. "What we know is that the pilot did not signal any danger." Most of those on board were killed immediately when the aircraft hit the ground and caught fire, Grethen said. Rescue workers managed to pull five survivors from the wreckage and rush them to hospital, but three died from their injuries. The aircraft had been in service since 1991 and had had a technical check the previous day, an airline spokesman said. Luxair had grounded the three other Fokkers in its fleet of 17 aircraft for a technical inspection, he said. Luxembourg airport shut down for about two hours after the crash, diverting flights to neighbouring Germany and France.
24 November 2002 – Pilot error could be to blame for the crash of Luxair Fokker F.27 Mk 50 (LX-LGB) near Luxembourg's airport earlier this month, a German magazine reported yesterday but the airline called the report speculation. Der Spiegel weekly said in a report issued before yesterday's publication that flight recorder data showed both propellers of the aircraft were on a setting for taxiing, not for flying. This could have caused the Fokker to crash as it came into land, killing 20 of 22 people on board, it said. Paul Greis, spokesman for Luxair in Luxembourg, rejected the report, calling it pure speculation. Without citing its information source, Der Spiegel said the propellers could not be mistakenly moved from the so-called "flight idle" setting to "ground idle" because the switch to make the change was covered by a protective flap. Der Spiegel said the aircraft's manufacturers explicitly warned in their handbook against putting the propellers on to the "ground idle" setting during landing. The aircraft smashed into a field in thick fog about 5 km from Luxembourg's international airport when it was on landing approach on November 6. The dead were 15 Germans, four Luxembourgers and one French. Visibility was about 100 metres and five aircraft had landed safely at the airport before the Fokker 50.
26 November 2002 – Crash into Manila Bay, Philippines
Investigators, who tried to check through the "black box" for the reason of an aircraft crash at Manila Bay on 11 November which killed 19 people, found the "black box" was not working when the incident happened. Philippine Transportation Undersecretary Arturo Valdez revealed today the Laoag International Airline (LIA) is liable for the non-operation of the flight data recorder. The report of the US National Transportation Safety Board showed that there was no sound coming out from the black box when the experts tried to play back the recorder in Washington DC. "The airplane should not have taken off in the first place. The company is liable," Valdez said over Radio Mindanao Network. "The standard is, if the black boxes are inoperable, then no go," Valdez added. The LIA Fokker-27 plunged into Manila Bay shortly after taking off on 11 November. A total of 15 others on board were rescued from the water of Manila Bay. Captain Bernie Crisostomo, pilot of the ill-fated aircraft, testified, on 20 November, that the left engine of the aircraft died out almost after take-off. He also admitted in his testimony that he failed to check the fuel valve before he took off at Manila airport.
27 November 2002 – South Korea
South Korea's Kimhae Airport has inescapable responsibility for an Air China aircraft crash on April 15, although there were also problems with the Air China flight crew, a chief Chinese investigator told Xinhua yesterday. On 15 April, flight CA129 with 166 passengers on board crashed into a mountain while trying to land in rain at Kimhae Airport near Busan. The accident left 122 people dead and six others missing; 38 people survived. Liu Yajun, head of the Chinese investigation team, told an international hearing in Busan that the chief air controller on duty, Park Junyong, did not own a licence for air traffic control issued by the South Korean Construction and Transportation Ministry. Liu said Park did not know the property of the aircraft, a Boeing 767, and mistakenly directed the airliner to descend to an altitude of 700 feet instead of 1,100 feet. In addition, the airport did not inform the crew of the weather conditions at the time, Liu said. Eight flights before CA129 were directed to land at other airports because of bad weather, Liu told the hearing. There were also problems with the radar system and lighting at Kimhae Airport, said Liu. Air China, Kimhae Airport, Boeing, attended the two-day hearing, which ended yesterday. Liu said that the Civil Aviation Administration of China will actively cooperate with South Korea to find out the real reason behind the crash. An official of the South Korean investigation group said during the hearing that the final results of the investigation will not be released until June, 2003.